Boston asks developers to disclose their participation in WMBE

Boston City Hall

Developers of proposed major projects in Boston will be asked to disclose their plans to ensure project teams are diverse, Mayor Michelle Wu announced Thursday morning.

The policy will apply to all projects 20,000 square feet or more, Boston Planning and Development Agency Director Arthur Jemison told reporters at a news conference at the Boston Hotel. town. BPDA’s board is expected to vote on the measure at tonight’s meeting.

“Boston is a growing city and we want that to continue,” Wu said. world to truly create a common wealth.”

Developers will be asked to list certified women and minority-owned businesses involved in the project and what role they play in all phases of development, including its ongoing operation, when filing a project notification form. , Planned Development Area Application or Institutional Master Plan Notification Form. Developers will also be asked to list strategies they will follow to drive supplier diversity – including goals they have set themselves – strategies for building other companies’ capabilities, workforce training programs work, the composition of the development team and any information on the diversity of the development team, equity and inclusion goals that “help provide a more comprehensive understanding of the impacts of economic development”.

The city does not have the legal authority to compel developers to include women and minority-owned businesses on its project teams, unlike the sale or lease of city-owned land for development, so the policy will only be a request for now, Jemison said, and will not take into account the BPDA’s decision to support or oppose a proposed project.

However, noted Boston Housing Chief Sheila Dillon, the new policy has the power to spark important conversations in the real estate industry.

“When you ask for information…it’s not a requirement, but it does make people stop and think about what we’re trying to do together,” she said.

The relative lack of diversity among real estate developers working in Boston has long been a topic of concern and conversation, both among city leaders and in the real estate industry. Even prominent black industry leaders like Greg Janey, president and CEO of Janey Construction Management, noted that they faced a “concrete ceiling” when trying to find new opportunities. Some real estate and construction companies and trade groups have invested resources in initiatives such as internship programs and talent pools, but significant barriers remain.

The city’s economic inclusion chief, Segun Idowu, said many local businesses and residents were still being left behind.

“There’s an awful lot of talent in our communities that we’re leaving on the table,” he said. “It’s also an opportunity for our friends in the development community to show off the work they’ve done.”

Idowu said the city “stands here ready” to help the development community increase the participation of women and minority-owned businesses and workers in its projects.

Jemison and Idowu said the city does not currently have any type of clearinghouse in place to connect interested developers with women- and minority-owned businesses, but said something like this could eventually be put in place. Idowu also noted that private groups like the Builders of Color Coalition and Foundation for Business Equity or Maven Construction’s Surge Contractor Incubator could help foster those connections.

Jemison added that developers should be sure to highlight one of their own female and minority employees who could work on a project.

Ultimately, Jemison said, politics is important in ensuring that city residents see their own economic success in every new development in Boston.

“I want everyone to look at the buildings going up and see them improve the city,” he said.

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